According to a report by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), Nigeria, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan are markets that will account for more than 40 percent of the 1.6 billion new smartphone connections by 2020.
GSMA also noted that smartphones presently account for over half of the total connections globally. It also said that as with subscriber growth, smartphone growth is being driven by developing markets.
GSMA said though it took four years to move from four billion to five billion; reaching six billion mobile subscribers will take longer still. It stressed that there are currently 4.1 billion connections and is expected to hit 5.7 billion by 2020.
The body, which represents the interest of over 800 operators globally, informed that lower cost smartphones from local manufacturers such as Huawei, Oppo, OnePlus and Xiaomi in China, Micromax in India, and now AfriOne in Nigeria, are helping to address the affordability barrier.
According to GSMA India and Sub-Sahara Africa accounts for over 42 percent of the world’s unconnected population. India contributes a total of about 820 million of this population while Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries contribute about 708 million persons to the same sum. This is a deep indictment of the broadband penetration drive of the Nigerian government and its growth rate.
As it stands, Nigeria’s smartphone penetration stands at 30 percent (2016 reports) but there the economy has witnessed an increased adoption rate, especially as new and cheaper devices, have continuously penetrated the market. A recent report by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that about 200 communities in Nigeria, with a population of about 40 million people, have been excluded from the internet loop.
While these are weakening, the good news is that the forecast shows a steady accelerated growth rate. According to GSMA, 70 percent of adults above 16 years old already have a mobile subscription, but that new growth will largely come from the regions under 16 year-olds, who account for 45 percent of the total population.
“Mobile uptake by the young, tech-savvy population will drive smartphone adoption and demand for data-centric services, leading to higher levels of mobile engagement in the region,” it stated.
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